after the beach at Inch, our second day of hiking brought us into a picturesque glacial valley and the town of Anascaul, which straddles one of the main roads into Dingle. we had our lodging booked in a B&B over a pub right where the hiking path entered town. as we came down the hill, a youngish guy working in the back garden next to our destination stopped and asked if we’d been walking from Camp today and if we had a reservation at (some other) B&B. his inquiry was the only indication that there were more than four of us hiking the Dingle Way on our schedule and pace.

after our usual post-hike shower and lie-down routine, we headed down the road to a different pub, recommended to us by the guy who served us lunch in Inch. the South Pole Inn had quite the crowd of families out enjoying the weather and a bite to eat on a covered patio. to add to the ambiance, a guy with a guitar was set up at a microphone just beside the door to the pub and performed an array of popular music and Irish tunes. there was a little kid (still in diapers but excitedly mobile) who timidly made overtures towards the musician, who tried to encourage him to come up and sing a song, or ask one of his parents to come up and sing a song. in the end the you guy decided he’d rather just run around at full tilt, sometimes towards the busy road to his parents’ chagrin. towards the end of our dinner, a woman chatted with the performer and got him to call her (not really timid) friend up to sing a song with him. she did, after stubbing out her cigarette and taking a slug of her pint, and it wasn’t half bad. I would never consider doing something like that, but it wasn’t the only time we saw it happen.

the pub, which stood next to a shallow river (named after either a local legend, known as the “Ford of Heros” or as the “River of Shadows”), was once home to Tom Crean (about which more later). the other famous local son was sculptor Jerome Connor, who has a notable work in Washington, D.C. it was, as I said, fairly well trafficked, and Anascaul, on balance, was one of the more bustling towns we visited — probably something to do with it’s location on a major road and a fair number of houses in the surrounding valley. as we descended the long straight road into town, we saw a sign for the Anascaul Walkers Club with an advert for an upcoming trek to the lake across the valley in a spectacular U-shaped glacial basin. farther than we’d ever consider adding to our trek on day three, but certainly worth the effort if driving around the peninsula.